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"If We're Just Looking at Pure Talent, You Can Put Him up There..." | NFL Draft Evaluations Heighten 

0404 QB Draft Article

JACKSONVILLE – History could be upon us.

The 2024 NFL Draft is fast approaching – and there seems little doubt the quarterback position will again define not only the first overall selection, but those immediately thereafter.

"It's a good quarterback draft," NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said.

Perhaps good enough to make history, with some observers projecting quarterbacks selected Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 overall for the first time – and with Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams widely expected to be selected No. 1 overall by the Chicago Bears.

"Caleb Williams has great talent, can make all the throws, does the special stuff that people are fascinated with," NFL Media/Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks said.

"If we're just looking at pure talent, you can put him up there with really any of the guys we've had just in terms of arm strength, athleticism, the creativity that he has, the play-making ability that he has," Jeremiah said. "He is not as clean or as polished as some guys we have had over the last few years. There's still some more growth and some cleaning up to do with Caleb's game, but talent-wise it's pretty special."

Jayden Daniels of Louisiana State and Drake Maye of North Carolina are also widely projected in the Top 3, with J.J. McCarthy of Michigan increasingly projected in the Top 5.

That quarterback is projected No. 1 overall is not new. The position has been selected there in seven of the past nine drafts, with the '24 draft continuing a recent trend of the position dominating the Top 5.

"They all get over-drafted because they're quarterbacks," ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. "The most important position in any sport is quarterback in the National Football League. They're all going to get pushed higher than maybe they should."

Three quarterbacks have been selected in the top six in three of the last four drafts – 2020 (Joe Burrow, No. 1, Cincinnati; Tua Tagovailoa, No. 5, Miami; Justin Herbert, No. 6, Los Angeles Chargers); 2021 (Trevor Lawrence, No. 1, Jacksonville; Zach Wilson, No. 2, New York Jets; Trey Lance, No. 3, San Francisco 49ers) and 2023 (Bryce Young, No. 1, Carolina; C.J. Stroud, No. 2, Houston; Anthony Richardson, No. 4, Indianapolis).

Quarterbacks have been selected Nos. 1, 2 and 3 twice since the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger – in 2021 and 1999 (Tim Couch, No. 1, Cleveland; Donovan McNabb, No. 2, Philadelphia; Akili Smith, No. 3, Cincinnati).

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) goes through passing drills during LSU's NCAA football pro day in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, March 27, 2024. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

"Everybody's going to gamble on the quarterback because if you don't have one, you can't play," Brooks said. "And we're about to reach the point where it's cost prohibitive to pay an average guy, so you have to keep going back into the draft to find younger options."

Jeremiah agreed with Brooks – that teams are now more willing to release or trade an early-drafted quarterback quickly then draft another early than previously was the case.

"It's easier for teams to cycle through guys, throw them out there for two years, it doesn't work, we can flush them and go on to the next one," Jeremiah said.

Brooks compared the '24 class to the 2021 class that featured Lawrence, Wilson and Lance in that the key to success might be as much how players such as Daniels, Maye or McCarthy fit with the drafting team.

"There are a lot of intriguing options and possibilities, but those players have to land in the right spots to maximize their talent," Brooks said. "Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye are the headliners of the crew, but all of them have their own strengths and flaws."


This again figures to be a position of low interest for the Jaguars in this draft, certainly on Days 1 and 2 – and likely throughout all seven rounds. Trevor Lawrence is the clear franchise quarterback – and though he must continue to develop, he figures to be the starter for the foreseeable future. The off-field question about Lawrence remains if the Jaguars will sign him to a long-term contract this offseason. The Jaguars addressed this position in a big way earlier this offseason, trading with the New England Patriots for quarterback Mac Jones– the No. 15 overall selection in the '21 draft who started for the Patriots the past three seasons. Jones figures to back up Lawrence along with veteran backup C.J. Beathard, who has backed up Lawrence the past three seasons and who signed a two-year extension in the '23 offseason. The Jaguars also have second-year veteran E.J. Perry on the roster.

--John Oehser


Essentially zero.


On the roster:

  • Trevor Lawrence
  • Mac Jones
  • C.J. Beathard
  • E.J. Perry


  1. Caleb Williams, junior, Southern California
  2. Jayden Daniels, senior, Louisiana State
  3. Drake Maye, sophomore, North Carolina
  4. J.J. McCarthy, junior, Michigan
  5. Michael Penix Jr., senior, Washington


Wiliams; Daniels; Maye; McCarthy; Penix; Bo Nix, senior, Oregon.

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